Lead exposure through consumption of small game harvested using lead-based ammunition and the corresponding health risks to First Nations in Alberta, Canada
The harvesting of game birds, such as grouse, with small arms using lead ammunition continues to be common practice in Alberta, Canada. Grouse are routinely consumed as a subsistence traditional food by First Nations in Alberta and the use of lead ammunition increases the potential lead exposure through the consumption of residual bullet or shot fragments in the edible portion of the meat. After removal of visible shot and ammunition fragments, similar to how the samples would be prepared for consumption, impacted and non-impacted grouse breast meat samples were analyzed to characterize the lead content. Using publicly available consumption rates, the potential lead exposures from consumption of both impacted and non-impacted grouse breast meat were estimated and the corresponding health risks were predicted. Comparison of the predicted health risks revealed a significantly higher risk (p< 0.05) for the consumption of ammunition-impacted meat.